Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Internship: Day 6, 10/19/05

Second day on the line, and I actually felt I had a little more of a grasp on things. I studied the menu and the prep sheet before going in, and I was able to remember more of what went with what. I’ve got the Endive Salad down (although I forgot the endive the first couple of times): endive with baby lettuces, potato, dijon, pancetta, and poached egg. I had a lot of trouble with the poached egg that goes on top, though. We keep a pot of simmering water, mixed with a little vinegar, on the back stove. When the salad comes up, the first thing that you do (which I also kept forgetting) is grab an egg, swirl the water, and drop the egg in. The swirling helps keep the egg compact. You then assemble the salad, mix it, and plate it. The egg perches on top. I tended to either break the egg trying to get it out of the water or onto the salad, or if I did manage to get it onto the salad intact, it often rolled off when I placed it on the counter for pickup. T says I have a nice hand with presentation, though—Chef likes the presentation to be tight with a fair amount of height, and I think I’m getting that down. My first career was graphic design, so I’m very visual—making things pretty is almost second nature. Making things pretty quickly is a little tougher, but that’s probably the least intimidating thing about this work. The hard part is keeping everything straight and organized, remembering all of the orders, and the timing. It’s like a dance, and I still have two left feet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wine and Beverage: Day 3, 10/18/05

Wine Quote of the Day

"God in His goodness sent the grapes, to cheer both great and small; little fools will drink too much, and great fools not at all."



In this class we discussed New World wines of the U.S.: California, Oregon, and Washington. Highlights from the class are below, and you can view a PDF of my full notes here.


New World Wines: Wines of the U.S.


  • The vast majority (approximately 90%) of wines produced in the U.S. come from California. California produces some of the most prestigious wines in the New World.
  • There are about 850 wineries and approximately 89 distinct AVA’s within California’s five major wine producing regions.
  • Because of the influence of the cold Pacific waters, vineyards up and down the coast and as far inland as 200 miles in some areas, are beneficially cooled to help create fine wine grapes.
  • Cabernet and Chardonnay are two of the most significant grapes grown in California, and are grown by almost every winery.

Wine-growing Regions

  1. North Coast
    An important and extensive grape growing region north of San Francisco that includes Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino counties. This region produces the best wines.
  2. Central Coast
    A large growing area extending south from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.
  3. Sierra Foothills
    Home of the legendary gold rush of 1849. This region contains smaller producers—it’s too warm for great wine.
  4. South Coast
    Best known for Hollywood and its beaches.
  5. Central Valley
    Largest producer of wine grapes in California, but not as many wineries. This is California’s agricultural land that stretches almost 500 miles down the center of the state.

Map compliments of Boisset America.


  • Oregon’s northern latitude brings long hours of summer sunshine to its vineyards as the marine breezes help moderate the climate, causing the ripening process for the grapes to be gradual.
  • The northwest portion of Oregon is celebrated for cool-climate grape varieties including:
    - Pinot Gris
    - Riesling
    - Chardonnay
    - Pinot Noir

Wine-growing Regions

  1. Willamette Valley (will-AM-et)
    Oregon’s most famous and largest wine-growing region. Known for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc, which have all won praises throughout the world.
  2. Umpqua Valley (UHMP-kwah)
    Located in bweeen the Willamette Valley and the Rogue Valley. Burgundy-style grapes predominate.
  3. Rogue River Valley
    Warmer than most other parts of Oregon. Best known for its Chardonnay and Cabernet.
  4. Applegate Valley
    Heat-oriented varietals thrive here: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Wines are often intense and full-bodied, less fruit-forward.

Map compliments of Korbrand Wine.


  • Washington is located approximately the same latitude (46?N) as the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
  • The most significant and highest selling wines are Merlot and Chardonnay.
  • 98% of the wine grapes in Washington are grown on the east side of the state.

Wine-growing Regions

  1. Columbia Valley
    Washington’s most significant region. Merlot grape vines prosper in the long sunny days and chilly nights producing wines that tend to be rich with ripe cherry flavors that are lively with acidity.
  2. Yakima Valley
    Diverse climate, well suited for Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Merlot.
  3. Walla Walla
    Remote region that is setting the standard for Cabernet and Merlot.
  4. Puget Sound
    Cool climate. Pinot Noir and the more adaptable Pinot Gris grow best.

Map compliments of Korbrand Wine.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Internship: Day 5, 10/17/05

My first day on the line, and it wasn’t bad, but I can’t imagine ever being able to do this by myself. They all assure me that I’ll get the hang of it, and that they felt the same way when they first started out—but still, it seems a daunting task and it wasn’t even that busy.

The nice part is that the lunch guys are all really nice and very supportive. Lunch seems to be a lot less stressful in general, so I think they’re able to enjoy it more. It’s also nice being upstairs where there’s windows and natural light instead of always being in the basement prep kitchen.

T gave me an overview of the dishes that the pantry side of the line is responsible for—all of the hot and cold appetizers as well as the daily soup. There are nine dishes total. I plated some salads, and helped out with some of the hot dishes. T gave me a copy of the prep list to look over—it’s an overwhelming amount of information since each dish has a number of ingredients, but hopefully it’ll start to stick soon.

After service, I did some standard prep work. I also made up a Green Goddess Dressing for a private party happening that night, which included avocado, eggs, lemon, lime, champagne vinegar, cream, extra virgin olive oil, shallots, and a variety of herbs.